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Pets Become More Popular

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Nothing is too good for our pets, and this theme holds true throughout 2014 as the humanization trend continues on a global level. From high-end pet food and niche market designer clothes, nothing is out of reach for consumers on the hunt for pet products.

Small businesses will benefit most from this continuing movement toward humanization, particularly in the ability to carry premium pet foods and offer unique pet services that meet the very specific needs of clients. Baby boomers and childless couples lead the pack in pet ownership this year, and with that comes a highly educated and demanding group who love their pets.  It’s going to be important for pet stores to employ educated, informed staff who can effectively relate to their clientele.

On a Global Level

The pet industry is driven by humanization and it’s a trend that is only growing in popularity. Pet ownership has increased in North America, with over 68 percent of households owning at least one dog, according to 2012 U.S. pet ownership estimates from the American Pet Products Association. According to a Packaged Facts survey, 83 percent of pet owners consider their pet to be a member of the family.
Pets are considered family, and nothing proves this more than the humanization trend that has only increased in popularity. You need only look at the marketplace to gain proof, with medical procedures like hip replacements, orthopedic dog beds, human-grade food and Burberry dog coats.

Growth is expected to continue across all pet categories at a rate of about 5 percent, with industry sales increasing to $64.92 billion in 2014, and a projected $75.09 billion by 2017, according to MarketResearch.com.

The trend continues on an international level.

India has experienced tremendous growth in commercial pet foods as people begin to explore the benefits of commercialized food.  In Russia, more than 40 percent of families own at least one pet, of which 73 percent own at least one cat and 32 percent own at least one dog, according to a 2013 report from Global Agricultural Network, published by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. According to Euromonitor International, the pet food market in Russia is experiencing annual growth of 8.7 percent, only second to India, and is predicted to reach $2.2 billion by 2015.

Brazil and Mexico are the two superstars of the international pet supply market; others include Japan, Vietnam and Latin America.

Pet popularity in general has also increased over the past few years. According to an International Markets Bureau report, the dog population in Brazil grew to more than 35 million, representing a 14 percent increase in the past 5 years. The cat population experienced a record 37.5 percent increase there during the same time period, according to the same report.

The United States remains No. 1 in cat and dog ownership, but Brazil has moved into the No. 2 spot for dogs, and Russia is No. 2 for cats, according to a Euromonitor International Report.

- Stacy Mantle

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